Policeman who hailed death of Gezi victim ‘pathological case,’ lawyer says
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Berkin Elvan's father Sami Elvan (c) and mother Gülsüm Elvan make a statement outside Istanbul's courthouse, Dec. 23. AA PhotoThe trial into a policeman who hailed Gezi victim Berkin Elvan’s death on Facebook started Dec. 23, with the lawyer representing the victim’s family labeling the officer as a “pathological case who takes pleasure in the death of a 14-year-old.”
The policeman, identified only as U.Ç., had posted “I kiss the hands who fired on your head,” on his Facebook page a few hours after Elvan’s death last March, following nearly nine months in a coma due to the injuries he sustained by the impact of a police tear gas canister during the Gezi protests. He faces up to two years in prison on the charges of “praising crime and criminals.”
At the hearing, Elvan’s parents, Sami and Gülsüm Elvan, asked to become a party of the trial opened by one of the family’s relatives. “I was unable to follow everything that happened after [Berkin] died; we passed through some very intense days. … I learned about [the Facebook post] after our friends [who opened the trial] told us. If he wrote that, I want the police officer to be punished with the heaviest sentence,” Sami Elvan told the court.
For her part, Selin Aksoy, the complainant, demanded the suspect also stand trial on charges of abuse of misconduct, as well as other crimes.
Elvan was struck by a tear gas canister in the middle of a police crackdown in Istanbul’s restive Okmeydanı neighborhood as he was going to buy bread. During his convalescence, which gripped the country, he became one of the symbols of the brutal violence shown by police against protestors and hundreds of thousands attended his funeral, which became one of the biggest mass demonstrations of Turkey’s recent history.
The officer who fired the fatal canister has yet to be identified, but the trial has made progress after several pieces of footage showing the before and after of the incident emerged, despite the police’s repeated claims of a lack of cameras.